Indoor Route Modeling and Guidance Method for Visually Impaired Wayfinding

Period of Performance: 09/30/2016 - 09/29/2017


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Visus Technology, Inc.
BOSTON, MA 02210
Principal Investigator


Project Description The proposed project seeks to identify and refine a suitable indoor positioning solution for use with the community-driven Hello Navi educational infrastructure accessibility initiative and improve the state of the art of indoor wayfinding options for the visually impaired. We outline a Phase 1 project to create a validation testbed in an environment with known sight-impaired mobility characteristics using a realistic multi-level educational setting. As the basis for our test- bed construction we will instrument two buildings at the Carroll Center for the Blind to support our experiment to achieve enhanced accuracy using a crowdsourced differential correction basis applied to two disparate positioning characteristics?location-services-supplied geo- location and user-supplied pedometer counts adjusted for anthropometric variance. These two positioning characteristics will be combined with a database schema indexed to provide for bulk location of the user within the building serviced and then establish the point of entry into our accuracy-enhanced relative reference frame. In Phase 1 we will conduct an aggressive indoor positioning solution overview with the intent of using the most promising elements and methods available in conjunction with our data-driven approach to produce enhanced accuracy and crowdsourced participation for indoor positioning solutions. By managing sparse collections of location reporting services data throughout the 2D indoor floorplan and supplementing this with pedometer calculated route lengths we envision a system benefitting from two alternative positioning characteristics one is based on sample average pedometer-derived route lengths between designated points of interest (POI) and the other is based on remote positioning provided by GPS and WiFi based location reporting services. We combine this positioning basis with an infrastructure based component consisting of affixed NFC tags located throughout the floorplan. Vertical displacement and floorplan indexing strategy for multi-level environments is addressed using a supplemental approach consisting of vertical access points being identified with the affixed NFC tags and a vertical accelerometer disturbance trigger to validate upward or downward motion, complemented by user-based confirmation of multi-level floorplan availability and selection. We also plan a multi-role commercial web portal as a basis for fostering activism and participation in facilities accessibility improvement within educational facilities nationwide. Our proposed Phase I test bed will provide a basis for quantifying the availability and accuracy of indoor location services and the error concerns related to lengthy pedometer displacement dependencies within or solution. Crowd-data collection methods will be employed to establish that commercial cell-phone location reporting combined with descriptive POI meta-data and normalize pedometer counts can be used to improve the scale and orientation modelling accuracy of a three-dimensional route plan for an indoor environment and that the data can be formatted sufficiently to support playback technology for delivering a usable electronic guide- rope service for those with vision impairment. The goal for Phase 1 is to isolate a most effective positioning solution for use with the Hello Navi initiative. We will employ adaptive design response during Phase 1 to produce a proposal for Phase 2 production engineering of the most promising indoor positioning solution. Note for this resubmission, material revisions have been introduced to our Project Description Specific Aims, Research Strategy, and References Cited along with the required Introduction detailing this re-submitted application.